Posts Tagged ‘Robert Scott’

The Kiwi Pop giants and lo-fi all-stars with only the fifth LP in their storied career.

The Clean the Halley’s Comet of indie-rock, appearing after prolonged absences in a flash of brilliance, only to disappear just as quickly and practically be forgotten about again . This New Zealand trio’s output has been notoriously sporadic over their 32-year lifespan, their releases have been fortuitously timed to capitalize on their unyielding influence: After a brief string of legend-making singles in the early 1980s, the band’s relatively prolific 1990-96 run coincided with the ascendance of Clean acolytes Pavement and Yo La Tengo; their last release, 2001’s Getaway, dovetailed with the Strokes and the Shins’ back-to-basics ethos; while the new “Mister Pop” was only their fifth full-length release at a time when a new generation of lo-fidelity all-stars (Jay Reatard, Bradford Cox, Crystal Stilts, Love Is All) is displaying a voracious appetite for Kiwi pop.

But the Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices– ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.

Despite the eight-year layoff since Getaway, “Mister Pop” effectively picks up right where we left off, with a pair of warm-up exercises– the metronomic organ-grinding jam “Loog” and the possibly self-referential dream-pop ditty “Are You Really on Drugs?” that feel like vapor-trail echoes of its predecessor’s distended, psychedelic haze. Even in light of the Clean’s lo-fi legacy, the tracks feel demo-grade, built on single ideas that, while lasting only three minutes each, still feel run into the ground, begging the question of whether eight years was actually long enough for the song reservoir to replenish itself again. But such quibbles are cast aside 30 seconds into “In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul”, a headlight-bright jangle-pop pleaser (possibly about the new Beatles reissues?) that boasts all the hallmarks of classic Clean. On another track, David Kilgour makes an even more explicit reinforcement of Mister Pop’s return-to-form intent: over a paisley-toned, mod-rock swing, he repeats, “It puts me right back in the day.”


The Clean is one of our favorite bands ever, and one of the most influential guitar bands of all time. The band–brothers David and Hamish Kilgour (Hamish is also in the band Mad Scene) along with Robert Scott (also of the Bats and the Magick Heads)–has been around for more than 20 years and made consistently, uniquely amazing records the entire time. Getaway is a typically mind-blowing array of sunny, chiming guitar pop, moody psychedelia, and melodic garage simplicity.


The Clean

After rejecting the Hall of Fame accolade twice in the past five years, members of The Clean have agreed to accept it at this year’s Silver Scrolls ceremony on September 28th.

“I think when we were asked it just didn’t feel right for us,” Robert Scott, the band’s bassist, “We feel we are outside the industry, and in the past we were shunned and dismissed, and it seems like by saying yes we would be forgiving the industry for that.

“Of course, with time they are proved wrong as our music has stood the test of time.

“It’s a strange thing dealing with other people’s perception of your music and what you stand for as a band.”

The Clean pulling faces in the back of a car

Inspired by obscure sixties garage and psychedelic bands, as well as the punk revolution of the 1970s, The Clean helped introduced New Zealand to what would later become known as ‘The Dunedin Sound’.

It was 1981 when a young Roger Shepherd was in the process of launching his new label, Flying Nun Records. He wanted to promote the many post-punk alternative bands that were springing up in his hometown of Christchurch, and further south – Dunedin.

Shepherd chose The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho’ as one of the two singles he released to the launch the label. It made it to No. 19 on the NZ singles chart, much to the delight of those involved. Not many people realised it at the time, but it was the start of something that would influence music and culture in NZ – and beyond – for decades to come.

The Clean helped cement The Dunedin Sound’s popularity – and Flying Nun’s finances – with their EP Boodle, Boodle, Boodle, also released in 1981. Surprisingly, it reached number four in the NZ charts and remained in the Top 20 for nearly six months. “To make Boodle and then it be so successful was just incredibly encouraging for everybody involved … like, ‘Hey, we’re on the right track here. Maybe we aren’t so crazy,’ David Kilgour recalls.

The band’s members include guitarist Kilgour, his brother – drummer Hamish Kilgour, and bassist Robert Scott. Each has forged a life in music including multiple bands and projects including The Bats, The Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, The Heavy Eights and more.

But it was The Clean that made it onto US college radio in the 1980s; garnered an enduring fan base in Australia, the UK and Europe; and influenced generations of NZ musicians and fans. And they’re still touring successfully across the world today.

As a reminder of how great The Clean really is, and to get you in the mood, here’s some quality gear to binge on:

The story of Boodle Boodle Boodle (2012)

“By the time we got to do Boodle Boodle Boodle, The Clean … were such a wonderfully great live band. Most of those songs were done in one or two takes.”  Boodle producer Doug Hood

A video tracing the history of The Clean’s iconic first EP. Featuring Hamish Kilgour, David Kilgour, Robert Scott, producer Doug Hood and former band member the late Peter Gutteridge:

Earlier this year Boodle Boodle Boodle was awarded the 2017 Independent Music New Zealand Classic Record Award. We spoke to David Kilgour about the record“We only [play live] every three years, so that’s how we do it. We take the mickey out of each other, in a kind and caring way. You can have a laugh at someone’s expense, but to a certain degree, and then you cross a line and the expression changes, and you know you’ve gone too far.”
Robert Scott

The Clean: selected discography

  • Boodle, Boodle, Boodle – 1981
  • Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten – 1982
  • Odditties – 1983
  • Live Dead Clean – 1986
  • Vehicle – 1990
  • Modern Rock – 1994
  • Unknown Country – 1996
  • Getaway – 2001
  • Mashed – 2008
  • Mister Pop – 2009

Originally released in August of 2001, the double-LP reissue will mark Getaway’s first appearance on vinyl and it includes an 18-song bonus CD that compiles the hard-to-find, tour-only releases of Syd’s Pink Wiring System and Slush Fund. A double-CD version includes the full album plus the bonus disc.

There is a live version of the pulsing, soaring “Stars” along with a couple of other Getaway songs and The Clean classics like “Fish,” “Side On,” “Quickstep,” and “Point That Thing Somewhere Else” appears on the rare 2003 album Syd’s Pink Wiring System. That record will be included with the Getaway reissue, along with the more experimental, piano-driven EP Slush Fund from the same era.

These bonus tracks reinforce the idea of the Getaway-era Clean as especially plugged in, generating inspired and beautiful music almost on instinct.

Indeed, they’ve done justice to Getaway, It was a key album in The Clean discography ,a record that honors the band’s origins as garage-rock-loving New Zealand kids, excited just by the hum of a good, cheap amplifier. Songs like the twangy, easygoing “Crazy,” the jaunty acoustic snippet “Cell Block No. 5,” and the trance-inducing “Circle Canyon” are more fine examples of Robert Scott and the Kilgour brothers’ interest in immediacy and a strong vibe, applied to catchy melodies.

Due On December 2nd, the deluxe version of 2001’s Getaway in honor of the album’s 15th anniversary.